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The Central Mass Errata

Errata and Addenda for
The Central Mass.

Main Errata/Addenda index page

If there are any errors on these pages, please contact me (Ken Akerboom).

The actual items have been slightly reformatted to fit into a "table" arrangement.
The original errata and addenda was published in the December 1985 B&M BULLETIN, pp 23-24.

Since publication of The Central Mass. in 1975, errors and omissions have been brought to our attention. We present the following in the interest of historical accuracy and in the belief that this supplemental information will be valuable to you who own the original book.

Page Location Description
2 In the list of the Board of Directors, Henry F. Hills should read Henry P. Hills.
2 The life dates for George Sewall Boutwell were inadvertently listed under the photograph of James Sumner Draper. The correct dates for Mr. Draper are 1811-1896.
6 Norman C. Munson, the original contractor for, and the first General Manager of, the Massachusetts Central Railroad was known to have had a very active and interesting life. Yet diligent research prior to publication failed to uncover much of his career except during those years he was involved with the Mass. Central. Fortunately we have uncovered his obituary which tells, in considerable detail, of his life's work. It is reproduced here directly as it appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript of Monday, May 18, 1885.
"Mr. Norman C. Munson died suddenly [May 16, 1885] at his office, corner of State and Devonshire Streets, Saturday of angina pectoris. Mr. Munson was widely known in connection with railroad enterprises. He was born in Poultney, Vermont about sixty five years ago, and spent his early days on a farm. He came to Boston when quite a young man, and went to work upon the Boston & Worcester Railroad as superintendent of track-laying. When the Fitchburg Railroad was building he took a contract to do the work, and took up residence at Shirley, where he has since resided. He did a great deal for the town. He built the town hall, an elegant gateway for the cemetery, and laid out a park. His next large operation was the building of the second track of the Hudson River Railroad. Upon its completion he went to Baltimore and engaged in some large work for the city, in company with a man named Goss, the firm name being Munson & Goss. After a year both came to Boston and took a large contract for filling in the Back Bay, for the State, City and Boston Water Power Company. Mr. Goss was interested in this contract, but after a short time his courage failed him and he sold out to Mr. Munson, who put all his means into it. He prosecuted the work with vigor from 1859 to 1873. At one time it was estimated that he was worth $3,000,000, but unfortunate land speculation and the misfortunes of the Massachusetts Central Railroad it was greatly lessened. Mr. Munson was president of the Norfolk County Railroad, which was merged into the old Hartford & Erie. He put money into it, and when Governor Claflin vetoed the bill giving the road State aid the road was owing him a $1,040,000, vouchers for which are now in the State House. It was a very severe blow to Mr. Munson, but did not discourage him. In 1873 he had a large amount of money in the Massachusetts Central Railroad. When the panic occurred, Jay Cooke, who was the banker who was to dispose of the bonds, was unable to do so, and Mr. Munson's operations on the railroad and the Back Bay came to a sudden close. He struggled until 1876, when he found it was impossible for him to continue, and he went into bankruptcy. In 1879 he reorganized the Massachusetts Central Railroad and began the work of construction in 1880, and continued until the failure of Charles A. Sweet & Co., bankers. The deceased was one of the most active business men in Boston, and at the time of his death was engaged in building the Florida Southern Railroad.
18 column 1 The Ware River Railroad was leased to, not purchased by the Boston & Albany Railroad. The effective date of the lease was January 1874.
39 column 1 The sentence which commences "Except for the Boston & Albany..." should be expanded to include "...and the Central Vermont...".
Major upgrading on the Central Mass. in anticipation of the added traffic occasioned by the opening of the Hampden Railroad is referenced on page 42. A grade crossing elimination project at Weston in 1912 is referenced on page 98. This grade crossing elimination, as well as the one at Cherry Brook station which took place in the same year, were part-and-parcel of the major upgrading. Double tracking of the Central Mass. through east from Hudson was seriously considered and the bridges at Weston and at Cherry Brook were constructed with arches wide enough to accommodate two tracks. At Weston the passing siding (which, of course, would have become the second track) occupied the space but at Cherry Brook only one set of rails ever passed through the concrete arch of the bridge.
45 column 1 According to Railway Age, the Hampden Railroad was sold at auction June 1926 for only $30,800 to Marks Angel of Boston, for scrap.
49 column 2 According to the B&M's 1933 annual report, the trackage rights over the B&A were obtained in January 1933, not in the summer of 1932 as the book indicates. Connecting tracks were built shortly after the January 1933 date.
50 column 1
52 column 2 Mr. John J. Tobin of South Euclid, Ohio, has uncovered an interesting bit of information concerning the 1936 flood and its effect on the Central Mass. in the vicinity of Wheelwright. His letter is quoted in part:
... on page 52 it states, 'Even the devastating floods of March, 1936, which ultimately brought abandonment to several B&M branches spared the Central Mass.' Not so. The floods washed out a bridge at New Braintree on the track from Creamery to Wheelwright.

As a result of this bridge having been washed out, a B&M crew was sent to Barre Junction to install a switch connecting the abandoned piece of track between Barre Junction and Wheelwright to the [existing track] extending on to Rutland, and for the first time in 3 or 4 years trains resumed running over this track. The first train to cross the Ware River Bridge at Wheelwright [running west from Barre Junction] ran across it crewless for safety's sake. One engineman started it on the east side of the river and jumped off, and another engineman boarded it on the west side and brought it to a stop. Several new ties were installed and Wheelwright was served from Barre Junction for over a year...

The account on these pages states that the steam era on the B&M came to an end on May 5, 1956. This was thought to have been the case for many years by many knowledgeable B&M employees and historians. Not so, according to Russ Munroe, Ralph Phillips, and George Dimond. These alert observers state that Pacifics 3662 and 3654 made the last steam runs on the Marblehead Branch on Monday morning, July 23, 1956. This is now believed to have been the last revenue use of steam power on the Boston & Maine.
63 Photo The train is heading west, not east as the caption reads. The train, then, is Extra 1404 West (Symbol H-1).
rear pocket insert map of 1975
The maps indicate that the Central Vermont Railway track (ex-New York Central Athol Branch) from Barretts (not labeled) to Bondsville was still in existence as of that date. This is not so, the rails having been torn up some time prior.
79 top photoThe photo probably dates from about 1920 because train 3107 had been discontinued on the west end prior to 1922.
79 middle photo The train is eastbound.
86 bottom photo The track in the immediate foreground of the bottom photo is that of the B&M, not of the New Haven as the caption indicates. This track was used by arriving and departing Central Mass. trains.
95 In the all-time Central Mass. station list, Gleasondale was renamed from Rockbottom on April 2, 1900.
98 See note for p 42, above.
130 The caption accompanying the two photographs should state that the bridge was 72 years old, not 62.
131 The Lancaster Railroad briefly reappeared in the news in late 1895 when it was announced that the Central Mass. trackage would be relocated because of the proposed construction of the Wachusett Reservoir. The citizens of Bolton advocated that the Central Mass. relocation should occupy the roadbed of the abandoned Lancaster Railroad, thereby affording the community rail service which had earlier been denied them. Of course this would have placed Berlin at the end of a four mile branch west from Hudson. Had the wishes of Bolton prevailed we would have been deprived of the scenic highlights of Clinton tunnel and the viaduct. Fortunately their political influence came to naught, the relocation proceeded according to plan, and the Lancaster Railroad remained defunct.
136 Add the following source to the Bibliography:
Carpenter, E. W. and Morehouse, C. F. The History of the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, 1896.

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1.0 27-Jul-2002 KG Akerboom Initial release Facebook Page